Big Fine for Toxic Chemical Spill

Friday, September 16, 2011 @ 02:09 PM gHale


An aluminum producer in Hungary is facing a  fine for spilling toxic sludge last year.

An aluminum producer in Hungary is facing a fine for spilling toxic sludge last year.

An aluminum producer in Hungary is facing a $650.6 million (€472 million) fine for spilling toxic sludge last year that killed 10 people and caused serious damage to the environment.

The MAL Zrt plant leaked alkaline substances, a byproduct of aluminum production, in early October last year.

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A government statement said the fine reflected the unprecedented volume of hazardous material released when the spill breached reservoir walls.

Some 700,000 cubic meters (184 million gallons) of the toxic substance flooded out. The company has two weeks to pay the fine or appeal.

“MAL Zrt will be obliged to pay a … for the environmental harm caused during the operation of the red mud reservoir,” the ministry of rural development said.

The alkaline substances flooded into nearby towns and villages and across agricultural land in western Hungary.

It eventually spread across an area of 40 sq km (over 15 sq miles) and reached the River Danube, injuring more than 150 people.
Officials said it was Hungary’s worst chemical accident but the firm ended up resuming production barely two weeks after the accident.



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